In episode 98, the iPhone Life team focuses on the best apps to use this holiday. Learn how Apple's new expanded reality app called Objectives can help you with festive baking and what app you can use to pick up a special moment each day with friends and family. Other topics include tips for the Notes app, Siri shortcuts, and navigation in Google Maps
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Transcript of Episode 98:
Donna Cleveland: Hello and welcome to episode 98 of iPhone Life podcast. I am Donna Cleveland, editor and chief of the iPhone.
David Averbach: I am David Averbach, CEO and publisher.
Sarah Kingsbury: And I'm Sarah Kingsbury, Senior Web Editor.
Donna Cleveland: Every episode we bring you the best apps, top tips and great equipment in the IOS world. To start the episode, we have our sponsor, X-Doria.
David Averbach: So X-Doria is a really great business maker if you only have iPhone 10R or if you want a new case. They provide a really good combination of anything you want in a case that is durable, protective for the phone, but easy and affordable. And then make sure you check them out. And my favorite thing of theirs is their defense series and it has machine metal around the edge, rubber, and it has polycarbonate. So it's kind of all these protective pieces in it, but it's still very easy. And it's only $ 35, so super affordable.
Donna Cleveland: It's a very cool thing.
David Averbach: Yes.
Sarah Kingsbury: Yes. I am a big fan of this company.
David Averbach: Yes. So make sure you check them out.
Donna Cleveland: Next up we will tell you about our most popular free content, and it's our daily tips newsletter. If you go to iphonelife.com/dailytips, you get tips every day in your inbox that teaches you something cool about iPhone or iPad in just one minute. So, it's completely free to register because it's free.
David Averbach: And free forever.
Donna Cleveland: Amazing. Yes. And also many people will not spend a lot of time learning to use the phone. And this you can learn a little something everyday with very low commitment. So, next, I want to tell you about our favorite tip of the week, and that's how to attach a note to the top of your Notes app.
David Averbach: Ooh.
Sarah Kingsbury: Your favorite tips for this week. It's not your favorite all the time.
Donna Cleveland: Oh, that's not my favorite of all … Well, you know.
David Averbach: It's pretty cool. [crosstalk 00:02:00]
Donna Cleveland: So this is the tip. I'm using the Notes app all the time. I like it so simple and not much structure, so you can only use it, but you will. I like to use the same note every day to make lists. I have a list for Monday to Friday, and I use the checkboxes under each name of the day, and I might like … You know I like to check out items in my list. It is satisfactory. So, I like to associate this note with the top of my Notes app, so it's always there and available every time I open the app.
Donna Cleveland: So to do this, open your Notes app and lower your … So you swipe right on the note and it will show you a little orange symbol with a stick on top of it and it allows you when you tap it to attach that note to the top of that folder.
David Averbach: Yes. I love this. I actually actually do this with you because I actually did not know about this, but … Because I want to … I use notes for multiple purposes. One is like I'm in a meeting and I just want to randomly write down things or if I only have some random thought I'm trying to haveh out. Another thing I will do, I think we have talked about this, but if I write a very sensitive text message to someone, I'll always do it in Notes first.
Donna Cleveland: Yes. I do that too.
David Averbach: So I do not really send send before I'm ready and they do not see me writing it for hours.
Donna Cleveland: They do not see the text messager [crosstalk 00:03:26] indicator. The three dots.
Sarah Kingsbury: I wish you could turn it off. It's like having read receipts turned on, but it's like writing receipts. I do not know. It's as if you do not want people to know.
Donna Cleveland: We should associate by the way … We did an episode a couple of months back where Sarah and I thoroughly tested messages to see when these text message indicators appear and when they are not. Because it was not always what you think it would be.
David Averbach: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Donna Cleveland: So you can avoid even some of these risks by just typing … If you write a longer message, just do it in the notes app so nobody needs to know how long it took you.
David Averbach: Yes. Exact.
Donna Cleveland: How Much You Agonized Over What You Should Say.
Sarah Kingsbury: Or just send it to someone who has an Android phone.
Donna Cleveland: Yes. That too.
David Averbach: There you go. So, I have a lot of the kind of notes that really are once, I only use … If I refer back to them at all, it's once. Then I have other notes, like my boyfriend, and I would plan our meals for the week in a note.
Donna Cleveland: Oh. As a common note.
David Averbach: Yes. And, or … For podcast I only have a sort of list of my questions and complaints, Apps I'm trying to keep this up. And they are regularly referred to, so pinning them to the top because I know I'm referring to them is very useful. And the others who make them like just rinsing to the bottom are good. So, I'm excited about this.
Donna Cleveland: Yes. Yes, I like this note a lot. So iphonelife.com/dailytips is where you can go to sign up to get tips like it every day in your inbox.
Donna Cleveland: Insider. I would also like to tell you about. This is our premium educational service. It's called iphonelife Insider, and you can sign up for a subscription that includes these daily tips, but you'll get a video version of them. You'll also get deepminders, so if you get a new device, you'll just go through how to use it to make the most of it. We have video lessons and downloadable PDFs that will teach you exactly how to do it and it's also very easy to learn. To follow these instructions. That is how we designed them.
Donna Cleveland: We also have a digital subscription to the iphonelife magazine. You get everyone back problems because we've been around for 9, 10 years since iPhone came out, basically.
Donna Cleveland: And we also have a feature called "Ask an Editor" where you can ask any technical questions, and our team of experts will help you find a solution.
Donna Cleveland: You also get workshops. And workshops are our live events where you can ask questions as we go through a thorough theme. You can ask them live and we will help you.
Donna Cleveland: And now we also have this extended version of iphonelife Podcast that's free, so when you're an Insider, you get the same Podcast, but you get even more content and none of the campaigns.
David Averbach: So if you've listened to Podcasts for a while now, as we trust you do, this is a very great feature for you because you're skipping all the ads, you'll get extra content every time we releases an episode.
Donna Cleveland: Yep.
David Averbach: And Yes
Donna Cleveland: So you go to iphonelife.com/insider to learn more and to sign up. We would like to have you as insiders.
Donna Cleveland: Now, we want to review our insider's top question this week and how Sarah helped them out.
Sarah Kingsbury: Okay. So, this Insider wanted to know how to create a route, such as a navigation route in Apple Maps or Google Maps, starting point and destination, then sharing it with someone and making them tap and loading it.
Sarah Kingsbury: So, you can do it on Apple Maps.
David Averbach: Okay.
Sarah Kingsbury: Because you suppose they have Google Maps, you can only tell them the destination and they could put it in. But, you know, what if you're trying to tell someone who's not so knowledgeable with your phone how to get somewhere and you just want them to be able to press it and it opens the app and they just press start .
David Averbach: Well, we live in quite rural Iowa, and I find that Google is not always, or Apple … They do not always know the best routes. They will give you as three routes, and the one they think is the fastest. They do not know.
Sarah Kingsbury: Yes.
David Averbach: Then you get stuck after slow traffic every time. And so, to be able to pre-select the route for someone when you send them. I can see the benefits of it.
Sarah Kingsbury: Actually, it's definitely. Yes Google … Apple Maps actually tries to send me on this random two-lane, really blowing kind of runway, as I could only do a right four-way all the way.
David Averbach: Yes. Yeah. They do not correctly take into account the difference between the motorway and the small road.
Sarah Kingsbury: Yes. So, I'd say do not do this in Apple Maps because the sharing options kind of sucks. When I tried it, I could only do it with Airdrop, which makes no sense. And I could not figure out a way to change my sharing options. It can only be specific to me, but Google Maps was just so much easier, and you can make more stops on a route, which I'm not really going to tell you how to do.
Sarah Kingsbury: So, maybe I can link to an article that tells you how to do it.
David Averbach: But it's one of my favorite Google Maps features that Apple does not have. Because sometimes you have a complicated route you need [crosstalk 00:08:37].
Sarah Kingsbury: Okay. I'll tell you how to put a stop.
David Averbach: Okay.
Sarah Kingsbury: Okay. So, in Google Maps, enter the location of the final destination and click on few directions. And then on top of the screen where your position is, tap it and enter the starting point, which is … One of the things he wanted to be a starting point where he was not on. So you only type in the starting point to replace your location. And then, if you accidentally get the order mixed up, but I do not know why, but I do constantly, there are two up and down arrows next to it to the right and you can tap it and it will reverse the order of starting point and final destination. And then there is an ellipse in the upper right corner and if you click there, this is the place you want to put a stop by the way.
David Averbach: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Sarah Kingsbury: So you can add a stop and then complete the building your route. But when you're ready to share the route, touch ellipse and you will be taken to a menu where you can tap sharing directions, and then you can choose a method of sending. And you can send it in email, in messages, via Slack, and when the person opens it, as long as they have Google Maps, it opens the app and, if they're on the start, they can press start and it will only begin to navigate them. If they are not, it will only give them a preview of the turn by turning direction. And if they do not have App, it should open it in a browser. I tried it by opening my computer and it just opened the browser. It can tell you on your phone to get the app, I'm not sure. I did not want to delete Google Maps and then reinstall it.
Sarah Kingsbury: So it works like this in Google. So that's pretty cool.
David Averbach: And this is a bonus complaint. Apple Maps comes on with more stops. It is important.
Sarah Kingsbury: I know. Yes.
David Averbach: Because it sometimes affects your route. As if you drive somewhere and you try to stop somewhere else, you like …
David Averbach: A. It affects the route.
David Averbach: But B. When you try to figure out how to get somewhere, you will talk to all the stops so you can find out the right order. That's what I always go through. I'm trying to figure out the order of my stops and like to have a route that makes sense.
Sarah Kingsbury: Yes.
David Averbach: Apple Maps is terrible on it.
Sarah Kingsbury: It really
Sarah Kingsbury: Apple Maps lets us always come down and try to send me on strange routes.
Donna Cleveland: I should say Apple Maps … They continue to add new features, but they are always after Google Maps. So, they have become much better. As you can stop along your route, at least. Something like at a gas station, or something, but that's
Sarah Kingsbury: But I will not choose as a stop while driving.
Donna Cleveland: No. I know. It is definitely … It does not solve this problem.
Sarah Kingsbury: They must make the features they already have, better.
Donna Cleveland: Yes. I agree.
Donna Cleveland: So, from the Insider question, we have another sponsor for this episode. Matias, that David will tell us about.
David Averbach: So I'm very excited to tell you about Matias and their Bluetooth wireless keyboard because it's the perfect time to buy it if you just have a new iPad. So, what they have is that they have a Bluetooth keyboard and what makes it unique is first and foremost that it is very well produced. It is very beautiful. It is made of metal. It looks a lot like Apple's products. It looks like Apple's keyboards, but it's better. And I tell you why.
David Averbach: First of all, it has a longer battery life than Apple's keyboards with much. Apple's keyboards are about three months, and last for more than a year on a load. They also have a backlit version and what they have done is that they have a separate battery for backlighting. So, because backlighting tends to use a lot of extra battery. So if you use all the battery for backlight, you can still use the keyboard. It's also cheaper than Apple's Bluetooth keyboard. And finally, and therefore it is especially exciting this time of year, it is synchronized with up to four devices, and you can switch back and forth between them.
David Averbach: So if you just got an iPad
Donna Cleveland: [crosstalk 00:12:40] Yes. It's really good.
David Averbach: Or you get an iPad, you can get it set up and you have basically the keyboard, it has four small buttons labeled one, two, three, four and you can sit there on your computer and type on the keyboard and then switch to iPad and just press "2"; You can switch to the phone and press "3". And then it's really –
Donna Cleveland: It's really seamless.
David Averbach: Yes. That's one of those things, if you're in the market for a keyboard, Matias is really the very best option. So make sure you check them out.
Donna Cleveland: Yes, they are great. Sweet. And we will post a link on iphonelife.com/podcast. We have a link to Matias so you can check out their iProducts there.
Donna Cleveland: So now we will tell you about our complaints and learning of the episode. I learned how, a good use case, to use Measure App. If you do not know, with iOS 12, Apple created a new expanded reality app that has a very convenient use. It is called action. And when you open it, you can measure … You have a viewfinder, camera viewfinder, pop up and you can measure real world realms using the camera. Then I realized that there were good uses for this, like hanging pictures on the wall or something, but I discovered while doing Spanakopita for my father's birthday –
David Averbach: Ooh. How was it?
Donna Cleveland: Last weekend. It was so good. It was so good. I tried to find out if I should double the recipe or not because I have this big forehead and I was not sure … It was not the same size as the recipe said, and then I just took Measure App, held it over the pan I had and could only measure it quickly. Also, the way I originally used to test the app … You have to go points to point to your object, but if you have something rectangular or square and you keep it over it will only lock on the whole form and then just tell you automatically. So that's very easy.
David Averbach: It's cool.
Donna Cleveland: You do not have to take the extra steps. I was not sure if it was down in the quarter thumb exactly, but in terms of just getting a close closeup of how big my forehead was, it seemed quite.
Sarah Kingsbury: That's great.
Donna Cleveland: So, I think you should check it out. One thing to know with Measure App is that Apple moved your level to the Measure App that used to be in the Compass App.
David Averbach: Oh. I lost it. I could not find it.
Donna Cleveland: I should say people have asked about it. So now you have at the bottom, the measurement side of it and then you can press for level. And that gives a lot of meaning when you think about it.
Sarah Kingsbury: It's much more logical than having the compass.
Donna Cleveland: Yes. Exact. Especially if you hang pictures and you use it for that purpose. I think it's nice to have these things tied together, but it dropped people for a loop because it has been with the compass for many years. So, that's my complaints and learning for the week.
Sarah Kingsbury: So I've played a lot with the Shortcuts App, and I learned.
Donna Cleveland: Tell us about it.
Sarah Kingsbury: So I learned something important and I also have a complaint. So what I learned is that if you want to create a Siri phrase that activates the shortcut, you must, it's a little counter intuitive, but you have to say the phrase, you must not say "Hey, Siri" as part of the phrase .
David Averbach: It worked.
Sarah Kingsbury: Because the sentence is set to start … As Siri is set to start listening to the sentence after you have enabled it. So, if you include these words as part of the phrase, than you have to say twice. And so many people make their sentences, do not even think about it, and include the Siri activation phrase, and their sentences do not work and they do not understand why. And that's why. So that's what I learned.
Sarah Kingsbury: And my complaint is that I've played a lot and I've tried to build different shortcuts that play podcasts for me and it's very hard. And at some point, it was possible to set up a Podcast-related shortcut, and when they updated the app, and now I can not copy it on any of my other shortcuts, and I'm very annoyed and Apple needs to get it together.  Sarah Kingsbury: So that was my complaint and learning.
Donna Cleveland: Cool.
David Averbach: Yes. One of our writers, Tamlin has worked with a shortcut article, and it has driven him crazy.
Donna Cleveland: Yes. Bad Tamlin.
David Averbach: It seems to be very difficult to use. I spent just a few minutes with it and kind of gave up, so … Apple gets it together.
Donna Cleveland: It's a great article, and I'll link it to the show notes for this. Ford-
David Averbach: Yes. He really worked, [crosstalk 00:17:14] very hard.
Donna Cleveland: He just goes into the basics of how to do it. And then we plan some articles that take you to more complicated shortcuts because it's not easy.
David Averbach: No.
Donna Cleveland: We hope this article will help you set up your shortcuts, but we will also hear from you if there are ways you use the shortcut application, maybe we should try.
Donna Cleveland: So that's our question about the week. Do you use the shortcut application and if so, what do you use? Then send us an email at Podcast@iphonelife.com.
Sarah Kingsbury: And really, if you have any tips and tricks you have about the Shortcuts App, especially Podcasts
David Averbach: Mm-hmm (affirmative).  Sarah Kingsbury: You can share them as well.
Donna Cleveland: Yes.
David Averbach: Help us. My-
Sarah Kingsbury: It's the most amazing, though. We did so much research … We saw so many videos online and we read articles. Nobody knows how to use it. And then they write these articles that are very unhelpful because they do not understand how it works.
David Averbach: And you say it's good, but straighten up wrong.
Sarah Kingsbury: It's right wrong as … They're like "and skip these five steps and it works."
David Averbach: Take duh!
Sarah Kingsbury: Because they do not know it. And then this works.
David Averbach: So my complaint and learning is very relevant because on Apple Maps, as we just talked about, I have a complaint and a learning. So, my learning was … I did a road trip this weekend and we had two cars and we were going to a restaurant and when we went out I was like "What's the restaurant"? They told me the name of the restaurant, and I thought in my mind, "Wow, what a magical time to be alive. You can just say the name of the restaurant and everyone just goes for it." It turns out that there are two restaurants, it's a chain, it's like three of them, and there are two of them just as far from where we were and we went to different restaurants.
Donna Cleveland: Oh, No.
David Averbach: And then they had to drive to us. So learning is so sure that if you share directions with someone, you not only tell the name of where they are going, but either use Sarah's tips in Google Maps to actually direct them there or you give them some more information like which one the way it is on or as which city it is in.
Donna Cleveland: Yes. [inaudible 00:19:19] It has happened to me.
David Averbach: They were different cities.
Donna Cleveland: Oh really. Wow.
Donna Cleveland: I should say that it has happened to me before with chains where half an hour passed and we are like "where shall the people we meet"?
David Averbach: Yes.
Donna Cleveland: Oh, they're on who's like ten miles … Or not even, it's usually just a few miles away. This was in Vegas. And then …
Donna Cleveland: May be very annoying.
David Averbach: And my complaint around [crosstalk 00:19:37]
Donna Cleveland: Or drop a pin and share it.
David Averbach: Yeah. Yeah. There are so many ways to do this.
Donna Cleveland: Yes.
David Averbach: It's just like … Do not be lazy with that was my learning. Because we became lazy.
David Averbach: My complaint with Apple Maps is … And I've complained about similar things in the past, but I only have so hard time with both Apple Maps and Google Maps that start a route. So many times there are so many different issues that I have with it. One of them will be it will go "Navigate to the route". And the route that tells me to navigate is really non-intuitive how you get to it. It's as if you have to take as three turns on a backgate to get where it wants you to go.
Donna Cleveland: Or if you're in a big mall and there are so many outlets …  David Averbach: Yes. And it's as hard to figure out exactly which outlet is what it's trying to tell you. And the other I'm struggling with when walking is, it can be very difficult to figure out which direction to start going. I find, you have it at all … Where I start going the wrong way for it to be like "wait, no, I have to go that way." There are some things that are not intuitive about starting routes in Apple Maps. And they need to get better on the [crosstalk 00:20:35] little section.
Donna Cleveland: Do you have to check which direction north is? There is usually a small arrow.
David Averbach: Yes, But I Find –
Sarah Kingsbury: The directions I thought were better because they usually have where it shows you your location. It will have a small arrow where the phone is pointed so you can line up with the route it tells you to go to, and that will make it easier.
Donna Cleveland: You know. I'm on your side, David. I do not know if there was a page that was not on your side, but I'm on your page because I recently drove to a show I went to, and some held my place, but they should give away my tickets.  David Averbach: Oh my gosh.
Donna Cleveland: Because my neighbor's house caught four, so I was running a little late.
David Averbach: Yeah. Really.
Donna Cleveland: So, I parked. I need to go … It was on a college campus and I'm like I need to get to this particular building that I do not know where it is, and it's dark, and they & # 39; re giving away my ticket in just two minutes, and so I was like "Give me walking directions to this building." And I was like, I'm just going to run in the direction of campus and hopefully it Will figure it out and give me more precise directions. But if I hadn't known what direction to start going in, I would have had no idea.
David Averbach: Yeah.
David Averbach: What I say is … I & # 39; m familiar with Apple Maps. I understand check where north is. Check where you're pointing, but a lot of times when I'm using my phone, I'm not exactly perfectly orienting it exactly. If you're watching, I'm pointing. But exactly right. Like I & # 39; ll kind of be holding it at a random angle or something. And it will just start spinning. [crosstalk 00:22:03] I've complained about this in the past, but it will just start … Because it happens to me very regularly. Både rijden en lopen waar het zal even duren om uit te vinden welke richting ik ben aan het richten of lopen. And that's part of the problem, it will be like … It will literally tell me to walk the opposite direction at first. For walking that's usually not that bad, but for driving, I've gone on the highway going the wrong way because it's told me this. Like it's really rough.
David Averbach: So, Apple, get it together.
Donna Cleveland: So that wraps up our Apple complaints and learning section. Now we're going to close the podcast, but for those of you who are Insiders, stick around because we have our special extended version.
Donna Cleveland: If you're not an Insider, go to iphonelife.com/insider and sign up so that you can get all our extra amazing content and none of the promotions. And, also email us at Podcast@iphonelife.com if you have ways that you are using the Shortcuts App and how are you using it and it is useful. All that Podcast@iphonelife.com.
David Averbach: Thanks everyone.
Sarah Kingsbury: Thanks everyone.
Donna Cleveland: See you next time.